E2 Round-up: Copenhagen pledges, climate panel under attack, Exxon under the microscope, and new problems for the Alaska gas pipeline

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has been under siege of late. A sweeping 2007 IPCC report included unsubstantiated claims that Himalayan glaciers could vanish by 2035.

The British government, which is active in international climate talks, doesn't seem to be giving him much backing, the Guardian reports.

But Ed Miliband, the British climate secretary, tells the BBC it would be “profoundly irresponsible” to use the mistake as an excuse for inaction, noting it did not undermine decades of research.

Back in the U.S., Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. will disclose its fourth quarter earnings on Monday.

The company is in the spotlight over the big bet it’s placing on U.S. shale gas with the proposed $41 billion acquisition of XTO Energy. The Financial Times reports that analysts will be hungry for updates when Exxon officials speak.

Exxon is also one of the companies hoping to build a massive pipeline to bring Alaskan natural gas to markets in the lower 48 states.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, however, that the shale gas boom threatens long-delayed attempts to launch the pipeline project, which is forecast to cost tens of billions of dollars.

“But even as the project is poised to get off the ground after decades of discussion, its viability is being called into question as energy companies have found huge new supplies of natural gas locked in dense rocks known as shale in places such as Texas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania,” the story sates.

“Those supplies are glutting the market and driving down prices, leading many experts to question whether a pipeline from Alaska is needed or could turn a profit for its backers.”